on scene – Tohm Bakelas

it was Sunday May 6th
we met up at the cemetery
where my grandparents reside
and buried my mom
well, a portion of what
remained of her
it had been five months
and two days
since she died
afterwards we stood around
not saying much
amazed we even found the gravestone
i learned i was the only one who
still visited the cemetery
it was strange after that
my dad asked if we wanted to eat somewhere
everyone said yes
i said no
my children were waiting at home for me
they wanted to come to
this experience
but i wasn’t ready to explain
how a woman they once loved
was stuck in an oven and reduced to ash
it was heavy enough
explaining death to a 3 year old
eventually i departed the others
and when driving home became
emotional and then angry
it began to rain which was rather nice
but there was too much traffic
prohibiting any flow of moving cars
i saw a small window of opportunity and
went for it
in the process
i scraped the side of a white truck
and the back of a black car
not needing any more shit
i jammed the gas to the floor and took off
in the chaos i somehow landed
on an exit ramp from a highway
as cars were approaching
i quickly maneuvered a k-turn
and drove straight through the red light
where the dust was still settling
from the chaos i had created
on scene
there were people bewildered
on phones calling police
calling loved ones
calling priests
calling god
i kept driving and got out of there
i took a turn down a side road
and found a different highway
when i got home
i scraped the paint off my car
and ran inside
i pulled down all the shades
closed all the curtains
and turned off all the lights
i waited for it all to pass
or catch up to me
there was nothing more i could do.

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have been featured in the Outlaw Poetry Network, Nixes Mate Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Piker Press, Ghost City Press, Tower Journal, The Raw Art Review, Medusa’s Laugh Press (forthcoming), Weasel Press (forthcoming), and Razur Cuts (forthcoming). He has three recently published chapbooks Orphan Crows (Analog Submission Press, July 2018), Destroy My Wound (Budget Press, August 2018), and In Living Rooms (Iron Lung Press, November 2018) and a microchap book We All Arrive (Origami Poems Project, October 2018).